Saturday, August 30, 2014

#BookReview : Private India by James Patterson, Ashwin Sanghi

On the jacket:

In Mumbai seemingly unconnected people are dying, strangled in a chilling ritual and with strange objects carefully arranged with the corpses. For Santosh Wagh, head of Private India, the Mumbai branch of the world’s finest investigation agency, it's a race against time to stop the killer striking again. In a city of over thirteen million, hed have his work cut out at the best of times but this case has him battling Mumbai's biggest ganglord and a godman who isn't all he seems and then he discovers there may be an even greater danger facing Private India. Hidden in the shadows is someone who could destroy the whole organisation along with thousands of innocent Mumbai citizens.


I'd read Ashwin Sanghi's Chanakya's Chant and marvelled at how well-researched the book was. From being a snob who looked away from the Indian fiction section, to now being someone who is experimenting with reading Indian authors, weeding out the average authors while I stock up on books by authors I would want to refer to others. Sanghi is one such author. I want people to read him. I am also a fan of Patterson’s Alex Cross series.

Private India is James Patterson's collaboration with Ashwin Sanghi. There are a series of murders in the city that never sleeps, Mumbai. The murders seem to be connected and the killer is leaving clues which are not adding up, while they also give the hint that the killer wants attention.

Santosh Wagh is the man on the case. He is the Indian head of Private and his boss is of course, Jack Morgan. The city’s police force is overworked, so happily hands over the investigation to a private investigating company as long they get credit for the result.

Private is an investigative agency, private of course, and is headed by an ex-CIA agent, Jack Morgan. It has branches all over the world, including India. In India, it's in Mumbai. Santosh Wagh is an investigator armed with a bottle of whiskey, in which he tries to drown his troubled past.  He has his team; the best there are in the industry.

The story is gripping, no doubt. As is expected in murder mysteries, as soon as you as a reader start thinking you have solved the case, you turn a page and you are rudely thrown off the track. Only to start picking on the new clues and to solve the whodunit, alongside the pages that you are turning. But I would have liked this better had been it a one author book. Of course, the mythological research comes from Sanghi and the pace is Patterson’s. I wish I could say the collaboration has made it a splendid read. Most of Patterson’s Private books that I have read have given me the same feeling, why the collaboration. Now, I am saying this purely from a reader’s point of view, a reader who is a fan of both the authors equally.

This is not a book I can compare with either writer's independent books. The story is an unputdownable page turner. The short chapters make it more gripping, each chapter ending at a note where the author is left wondering, and their mind racing to see if they can finish the puzzle.

I won’t say I am disappointed. ‘Coz this is a good story. The end was unexpected and the way the plot was woven was smooth and practiced. There however remains a doubt that maybe, just maybe it could have been better had this been written by a single author?  There is Mumbai. There are multiple murders which need to be solved. There are two brilliant authors. And, there is a fast paced novel they both have written. No reason why one shouldn't read it!

Rating: ****/5

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